Our course creators

Brilliant is made with the loving efforts of dedicated math and science educators and lifelong
learners from MIT, Caltech, Duke, the University of Chicago, and more.

Lead educators

Zandra Vinegar

Director of Math

B.S. in Mathematics, MIT
Leader and teacher at the most prestigious US math circles

Zandra came to Brilliant because she couldn’t stop solving the problems after signing up. Before starting here, she was a curriculum developer at the Museum of Math in Manhattan and studied Math and Math Education at MIT. She’s passionate about impacting education globally and making critical thinking accessible to anyone - which, fortunately, happens to be part of Brilliant’s mission as well.

Since joining Brilliant, Zandra has been able to cross several items off her bucket list - such as helping users understand Euler’s identity and explore the uses for imaginary numbers. While developing these courses, Zandra has also been teaching classes like “How to Cut a Cake” and “A Hardball Intro to Maxwell’s Equations” for local math circle after-school programs. Now, Zandra has the ability to impact students in her own neighborhood, as well as across the world.

“Most of why I teach is because I love when students have those 'AAAAH THAT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE NOW' moments.”

Patrick Zulkowski

Advanced Math Lead

Ph.D. in Mathematics, Johns Hopkins University; Ph.D. in Physics, UC Berkeley
Teacher with 11 years of experience

Patrick’s love for mathematics came from an initial fascination with astronomy. Realizing that understanding astrophysics would be impossible without advanced mathematics, he received advanced degrees in both areas. For his Ph.D. in Mathematics, he did research in minimal surface theory, solving the so-called Plateau Problem in Alexandrov Spaces. For his Ph.D. in Physics, he investigated one possible route for quantizing gravity independently of string theory, and then transitioned into nonequilibrium statistical mechanics.

Patrick has been teaching college-level math for a total of 15 years. While teaching, he was able to see firsthand how the current methodology for instructing mathematics and science can fail to prepare students for independent work in these areas and even cause frustration and disillusionment. At Brilliant, he hopes to reach out to a broad audience, share his passion for math, and even help shape the future of math education.

“I hope to inspire new generations to pursue higher-levels of mathematics and provide the resources and guidance I didn’t have as a budding mathematician.”

Calvin Lin

M.S. in Mathematics,
University of Chicago

International Math Olympiad participant in 2001 and 2002

Calvin began noticing flaws with the education system in high school, when he found himself memorizing concepts instead of truly understanding them. In college, he learned how these concepts come together and form a larger framework, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Calvin has also excelled in several elite math competitions, including the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) and Putnam Competition. He also helped train students for the IMO and Putnam, an experience that sparked his interest in making Olympiad math more accessible to everyone. Since then, he has been a Counselor in the Young Scholars Program at University of Chicago, lectured in various math circles, and even taught the trader trainee class at Optiver, where he worked as an options trader. At Brilliant, his biggest goal is to improve how math and science are taught around the world.

“We do not need to train robots. What we need are independent, critical thinkers who can solve novel problems that no one knows exist yet.”

Danielle Scarano

Foundational Science Lead

B.S. in Neuroscience,
Duke University

Established and led the science department at Summit Tamalpais

Danielle started working in research labs when she was 14 and has built up experience across a breadth of scientific research, including chemistry, genetics, and molecular biology. With her research, Danielle successfully competed in several science and engineering competitions. She decided to pursue her love for science at Duke University, where she studied the evolution of brain development and the neurobiology of vocal communication.

Before working at Brilliant, Danielle helped found an innovative, technology-based school in the Bay Area. There, she chaired the science department and developed a curriculum that encouraged students to build a deep understanding of scientific practices. As the Foundational Science Lead at Brilliant, she’s now creating content that brings together curious learners from all over the globe, challenges them, and motivates them to develop into critical thinkers, scientists, and engineers.

“I know how valuable it is to have access to a great STEM education. That’s why I love working at Brilliant, where there’s the possibility to reach students all over the world.”

Josh Silverman

Director of Science

Ph.D. in Biological Physics, The Scripps Research Institute
Published in Molecular Systems Biology

Josh was born in the greatest place on Earth — Long Island, New York. His earliest scientific memory is figuring out why wood and styrofoam float while rocks sink, which impressed his first grade teacher. In high school, a great chemistry class led Josh to a research position at Rockefeller University, where he worked on RNA biology and fell in love... with living systems. Living systems are mysterious because they have extraneous details and occur in a realm that’s far away from well-understood physics. Still, bold and reproducible behaviors emerge from the maelstrom — how can this be?

Josh spent many years studying one such bold behavior: how growing cells allocate resources. The path to the answer involved an intriguing blend of coarse-grained statistical mechanics, years of midnights tending to E. coli dividing in sugar water, and several more years of data analysis. Solving the problem was only possible because a diverse group of people were able to see connections between traditionally distant fields (e.g. physics and biology) and use them to unmask relationships that had lay hidden for generations. Sadly, though the difficulty of gathering information is at an all-time low, educational systems encourage specialization and narrow understanding. This is a dangerous trend Josh hopes to reverse with Brilliant.

Blake Farrow

Applied Science Lead

M.S. in Materials Science and Applied Physics, Caltech
11 publications, 4 biotech patents; science consultant for Bones and CSI

Blake owes a lot of his interest in science to numerous family pets and the Dewey Decimal system. While taking care of his dogs, cats, lizards, parrots, and snakes, he developed a love for the natural world and explored the neighborhood library for more information. The chemistry, physics, and biology books were right next to the Animals and Plants section; the rest of the story writes itself.

After stumbling upon these subjects, Blake pursued them more seriously by studying nanotechnology engineering at the University of Waterloo, and applied physics at Caltech. He continued his random walk through scientific fields as a Howard Hughes research fellow investigating molecular recognition and personalized medicine while lecturing in both physical chemistry and chemical physics.

To Blake, Brilliant is a step up from the library in that it stresses the interconnectedness of science and teaches interactively. Learning facts in a classroom couldn’t be further from real math and science - asking questions is a more effective and fun way to learn.

“The easiest way to teach is through lectures, but it’s hard to learn that way. We make the effort to teach the hard way, through crafting challenging and interactive problems.”

Aaron Miller

Advanced Science Lead

Ph.D. in Physics,
Penn State University

Designed and taught college courses on topics in physics and AI

Aaron’s preoccupation with puzzles started in elementary school and later shifted to a passion for exploring how the universe works. He entered Cornell University as a math major, but after seeing how the formalism of vector calculus was applied in physics courses, he decided to finish undergraduate degrees in both math and physics.

After graduating, he studied self-organizing pattern formation in networks of idealized neurons and discovered the great joy of converting science naysayers into science admirers. He was an Assistant Professor of Physics at Bridgewater College and joined Brilliant in 2016, where he’s still seeking new ways of presenting science to make it interesting and fun for scientists and nonscientists alike.

“The common thread through my teaching has been posing questions that compel students to think creatively, like scientists, instead of algorithmically, like computers.”

Eli Ross

B.S. in Mathematics, MIT
Director of Harvard-MIT math tournament; USA Mathematical Olympiad 2009

After qualifying for the USA Mathematical Olympiad, winning engineering competitions, and organizing one of the largest math tournaments in Florida, Eli decided to drop out of high school at age 16 to pursue a degree in Mathematics at MIT. While at MIT, Eli honed his broader desire to use data and logic to understand the world around us. He applied these skills as a quantitative derivatives trader, but soon realized he wanted to make a more meaningful impact on a broader scale. At Brilliant, Eli uses his math and computer science background to develop problem-solving based courses that enable anyone to learn modern, quantitative skills - no expensive summer program required.

“My hope is to democratize access to cutting-edge quantitative literacy. Without that, most people will be shut out of the critical decisions shaping our collective future.”

Course contributors

Over 70 instructors and researchers from around the world have contributed to the courses on Brilliant.

  • Starbuck Beagley

    B.S. in Computer Science, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Surya Bhupatiraju

    B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
    B.S. in Mathematics, MIT
  • Gerardo Bledt

    M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, MIT
    M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
  • Christopher Boo

    B.Comp. in Computer Science, National University of Singapore
  • Jordan Calmes

    Pharm.D, University of Wyoming
    M.S. in Science Writing, MIT
    B.S. in Chemistry, University of Wyoming
  • Agnishom Chattopadhyay

    B.Sc. in Mathematics and Computer Science, Chennai Mathematical Institute
  • Peter Chiappini

    M.S in Applied Mathematics, Stony Brook University
    M.A in Mathematics, Stony Brook University
  • Lawrence Chiou

    Ph.D. in Biophysics, Stanford University
  • Alex Chumbley

    M.Eng in Computer Science, MIT
  • Samantha Cody

    B.A. in Physics, Princeton University
  • Patrick Corn

    Ph.D. in Mathematics, UC Berkeley
  • Matt DeCross

    B.S. in Mathematics, MIT
    Ph.D. in Physics, University of Pennsylvania
  • Marra DeGraff

    M.S. in Earth Systems, Stanford University
  • Damon Demas

    Ph.D. in Mathematics, University of New Hampshire
  • Andrew Dickson

    B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley
  • Nathan Dummit

    B.A. in Art Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    M.A. in Linguistics, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Mark Dylewski

    B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science, Lock Haven University
    M.A.T. in Mathematics, Binghamton University
  • Kenji Ejima

    Master of Information Sciences, Tohoku University
  • Andrew Ellinor

    B.S. Mathematics, University of Florida
  • Pranshu Gaba

    Bachelor of Science (Research) Programme, Indian Institute of Science
  • Pi Han Goh

    B.S. in Actuarial Science, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman
  • Andres Gonzalez-Goodman

    B.S. in Mathematics, University of Chicago
    Masters in Middle Childhood Education, Hunter College
  • Rohit Gupta

    B.E. in Instrumentation and Control, NSIT India
  • Andy Hayes

    M.S. Mathematics Education, Duquesne University
    B.S. Industrial & Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech
  • Jason Horowitz

    Ph.D. in Mathematics, UC Berkeley
  • Heesu Hwang

    B.A. in Mathematics, Princeton University
  • Sameer Kailasa

    B.A. in Mathematics, University of Chicago
  • Alexander Katz

    B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science, MIT
  • Arron Kau

    B.A. in English, Oregon State University
    M.A. in Liberal Arts, St. John's College
  • Samir Khan

    B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science, Unviersity of Chicago
  • Jimin Khim

    Ph.D. in Economics, University of Chicago
  • David Klein

    B.A. in Statistics, Economics, Political Science, UC Berkeley
  • Julie Kneller

    Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
  • Jack Kovacich

    B.S. in Statistics, San Francisco State University
  • Anton Kriksunov

    B.S. in Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University
  • Nathan Landman

    B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
    B.S. in Mechancal Engineering, MIT
  • Scott Lee

    B.A. in Computer Science and Statistics, UC Berkeley
  • Kevin Lee

    B.S. in Biochemistry, University of Washington
  • Dan MacKinnon

    BEd. in Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Ottawa
    BSc. in Mathematics, Dalhousie University
    BCS in Computer Science, Carleton University
    MSc. in Mathematics, Dalhousie Unversity
  • Henry Maltby

    B.A. in Mathematics, UC Berkeley
  • David Mattingly

    Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, University of New Hampshire
  • John McGonagle

    B.S. in Computer Science, MIT
  • Michael Mendrin

    B.S. in Physics, UCLA
  • Jean-Marc Miszaniec

    Master in the Teaching of Mathematics, Concordia University
    B.S. in Physics, Carleton University
  • Queenbe Monyei

    B.A. in Anthropology, UCLA
    P.G.C.E in Early Years Education, London Metropolitan University
  • Karleigh Moore

    B.S. in Comparative Media Studies, MIT
    B.S. in Computer Science, MIT
  • Andrew Normand

    M.Phys, University of Warwick
    PGCE, University College London
  • Tim O'Brien

    M.S. in Physics, University of California San Diego
  • Akshay Padmanabha

    M.Eng in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
  • Joseph Ambrose Pagaran

    Ph.D. in Solar Physics, University of Bremen
  • Hannah Pang

    B.S. in Computer Science, MIT
  • Geoff Pilling

    B.S. in EE/Physics, Caltech
    Ph.D. in Physics, UC Berkeley
  • Janae Pritchett

    B.S. in Geology, Yale University
    B.S. in Environmental Science, Yale University
  • Layla Reaves

    B.A. in English, Howard University
  • Austin Ritz

    S.M. in Mechanical Engineering, MIT
  • Francisco Rivera

    B.A./M.S. in Applied Mathematics, Harvard University
  • Pratik Sachdeva

    Ph.D. in Physics, UC Berkeley
  • Laura Smith

    B.A. in Computer Science, UC Berkeley
  • Adam Strandberg

    B.S. in Physics, MIT
  • Megan Sullivan

    B.F.A. in Illustration, RISD
  • Kristian Takvam

    B.S. in Physics, UT Dallas
    B.S. in Business Administration, UT Dallas
  • July Thomas

    B.A. in Mathematics, University of Florida
    Ph.D. student in theoretical astrophysics, University of Florida
  • Rafael Del Valle Vega

    B.S./M.S. in Mathematics, University of Puerto Rico
  • Ognjen Vukadin

    Ph.D. in Natural Sciences (Mathematics), University of Vienna
  • Tiffany Wang

    B.A. in Mass Communication/Media Studies, UC Davis
  • Jeremy Watt

    Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, Northwestern University
  • Lee Weinstein

    Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, MIT
  • Jordan Wilheim

    B.S. in Cell Biology, UC Davis
    M.S. in Bioinformatics, Northeastern University
  • Christopher Williams

    B.A. in History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, University of Chicago
    M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Columbia University
  • Patrick Wong

    B.S. in Mathematics and Physics, Northeastern University
    MSc in Physics, University of Cologne
  • John Young

  • Arsh Zahed

    B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley
  • Alvin Zhang

    B.S. in Computer Science, UC Berkeley

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